Remember the elephants?
The elephants made me move to London.
In the summer of 2010 I dragged myself from the bleak docklands of Southampton to the bright lights of the Big Smoke to research my dissertation. Armed with a dictaphone and an A to Z, I haplessly fumbled my way around London, falling foul of the wrong branch of the Northern Line, spending 20 minutes in the Elephant and Castle rabbit warren subway, irritating bus travellers trying to tap out (big mistake). I felt like a clumsy blotch on a slick scene of beautiful people who were apparently born with an Oyster card and an extensive knowledge of the Northern Line. And I felt intimidated.
Then I saw the elephants and everything felt better.
The Elephant Parade made me realise that London wasn’t all suits, solemnity and ‘seek assistance’. It could be fun, kitsch and irreverent. Maybe it could accommodate someone who confused Mansion House with Manor House after all.
Fast forward a few years and London suddenly breaks out in a litany of brightly coloured over-sized Easter eggs. I’m flippin’ over the moon.
Unfamiliar with these incongruous ovoids? Over 200 giant decorative Easter eggs are hidden across the capital in this year’s Fabergé Big Egg Hunt. Designed by a host of artists, each egg is decked out in a unique style. Wealthy egg lovers can bid on the artworks, with the proceeds going to Action for Children and the Elephant Family.
Sticking our search to Soho and Oxford Circus, we stumbled across (amongst others) this beaut…
Let me warn you, egg-hunting on Carnaby Street is surprisingly difficult. Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between esoteric street art and an artfully suspended egg. Annoyingly Charlie could make that distinction. He spotted two floating artworks and rubbed this victory in my face for the next 24 hours.
As we approached a Russian-doll inspired egg near Oxford Circus, we had one of those Shaun of the Dead moments. You know – where Shaun’s crew bump into Yvonne and her band of survivors. So our lackadaisical egg-hunting group bumped into a bunch of militant egg-hunting anoraks, kitted out with clip boards, maps and pencils.
Cue horrible moment of self-doubt and fear of nerdiness by association. Our search was quickly abandoned. After 18 months in London, maybe we’ve contracted the self-consciousness that makes Londoners blush when they fumble their Oyster, wear chinos in Shoreditch or resemble a GSCE geography student on Oxford Street. Maybe London will do that to you.
Anyway if you have more backbone (and/or a clip-board), print off a map and get egg-hunting.
P.S. Keep your eyes peeled for the especially illusive Where’s Wally egg.